Offscreen Expeditions


During a rest in Leeds, the team discuss whether they are going to play cricket this evening.

Date: 07.17.2010

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Street art

I firmly believe in the power of images to change society. The whole media industry is proof of this where images are a major tool to manipulate, motivate or control people. It’s just amazing how an advertisement can make people believe they must have whatever product is shown.

In such a controlled world where there is an excess of imagery misleading us, I think that street art is a possible means for artists to reach out as much as advertising agencies to communicate their ideas to the common man, beyond the confinement of galleries. Street art, for me, thus carries huge potential to change views and become a part of our lives. I am overall very passionate about it.

You can then imagine my thrill when we walked through a road filled with street art today! Although the art was more design-based than thought-provoking, it was extremely interesting and completely transformed the experience of walking through the road. We couldn’t help taking pictures every step or so and were simply awed by it all!

Overall, I think that street art is the best thing about British culture and I’d like to see it in Pakistan too!

Date: 07.14.2010

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Map art and desi dinner

Today was the best way to start off the next two weeks. We first headed to the Royal Geographical Society where we were shown different historical and modern maps of the world, were guided through an art exhibition and were given some exercises to do along with London youngsters. This was followed by dinner at a desi restaurant on Brick lane where we were exposed to some street art.

The highlights of my day were an interview with a British girl, an art challenge with my fellow students and my experience through the colourful Brick lane. The interview, firstly, was for about ten minutes only but I formed quite a strong connection with the girl within that limited time and we were soon very comfortable with each other (which came as surprising to me because I seldom feel that way when encountering even Pakistani people). It was surprising for me also because I honestly expected the meeting to be a diplomatic, safe and pretentious one where we’d be smiling and charming. I didn’t feel the need for that at all! The art challenge, on the other hand, required us to work in groups on an art piece within two hours. Although not intellectually challenging, the project pushed us all closer together and by the time we were dining on Brick lane, I was discussing how much we’d all miss each other with a Qatari girl. The walk through brick lane, lastly, was very fascinating because of its multicultural environment (at times, I felt like I was in Pakistan, which was very amusing) and the street art there. I am personally very passionate about street art and this was the first time that I was not just viewing pictures of it through a laptop screen.

Overall, I am looking forward to what’s in store for the following days!

Date: 07.12.2010

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Social Circle

I created this painting a year ago and I call it “Social Circle”. It depicts the various social roles that I see around me and people engrossed in different useless activities within a congested setting, none looking out at the viewer, which I meant to show how people are so busy fitting in roles that they fail to see how the system is working overall. I believe that people need critical thinking and awareness to break out of the vicious circle that they’re trapped in and to see beyond their subjective selves to not only understand the system but also themselves. To understand one’s contexts is extremely important.

Date: 07.08.2010

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Lahore, Pakistan

Hi! My name is Zoya Siddiqui and I am 19 years old. I am currently studying in Beaconhouse National University. Another huge part of my identity is my love and passion for fine arts. It has defined my life and has also become a joke with friends and family! I have always believed in the power of images and am convinced that it’s a tool that may be used to alter society. To pursue this interest, I left my admission in a very popular sciences university to everyone’s dismay but was soon paid off by an A-level art distinction (so no one can bug me about my passion anymore!). I am also interested in cross-cultural activities and am a part of the Seeds of Peace organization and have taken part in regional and international science competitions.

When I heard about Offscreen, I was instantly attracted to it as I believe it’s exactly what today’s youth needs; a platform and opportunity to learn beyond what they’ve been taught and a direction in the future. I am extremely excited about being chosen as it’s exactly relevant to my interests. I am looking forward to becoming a part of this network of amazing young people with the same passion as me and to learning from them! Going to the UK too will be extremely interesting as Pakistan was once a British colony and this has led to a deep connection between the two cultures. For me, this expedition will thus be like filling in the blanks!